Responses to Week 1 Questions

What has been your experience of judgment?

What characterises judgment when it is creative? (discerning, instructive, naming, giving choice)

What characterises judgment when it is non-creative? (controlling, harsh, bullying)

What has been your experience of guilt? (when I know I have done something to hurt someone else.

What does it feel like physically?  (knot in stomach)

When guilt is creative?  (when it warns of danger to relationships, when it prevents actions you would later regret, when it prompts apology/restitution, when it energises a new path)

What do you know about forgiveness?  (hard to give/receive, requires admission of rift, accepts that the other may not reciprocate, implies a letting go)

“Man is made for the sake of choice” (Kabbalah)

What does this add to the discussion? (Whether or not judgment and guilt are creative or non-creative is a matter of human choice as is to forgive/accept forgiveness.

Carl Jung speaks of a moral factor of self; Genesis speaks of the knowledge of good and evil. What do these ‘givens’ add to our understanding of J,G & F.

What is myth?  (symbol, in words, that evokes a universal human truth or inner story. It is a ‘given’, i.e. it not learned, but is part of the human psyche.

Given this understanding, why is it important to work with myth?  (find connection in me with human race, helps me understand who I am)

Genesis 2:8,10  

What is in the garden?  (abundance, ‘everything that is pleasing’, 2 trees, river comes in from east and then out in 4 directions)

What are the implications for your life?  (having been given everything, we must value and use it)

What questions emerge from the garden reality for you?  (Is there playfulness in God’s creativity? Where do the rivers go? What is expected of me? What happens next? What kind of God is represented?..)

Which question is most important for you? (your personal response)

Genesis 2:15-17

What is the role of the human? (to tend and keep the garden)

What does the garden symbolise in us? (our inner resources)

What kind of God puts a tree in the centre of the garden with beautiful fruit and then says, “Don’t eat.”? (ambivalent, curious, clever psychologist, scientist)

What are the possibilities for Adam/Eve? (eat or don’t eat; i.e. get knowledge/discernment or stay naive)

What are the possibilities for God? (creation continues or it doesn’t)

Genesis 3:1-7

Who created the serpent? (God)

What knowledge does the serpent have? (that the fruit won’t kill the humans, but it well give them discernment)

Why does it confront Eve with this knowledge? (it wants the humans to have the choice to become more than they are, more than mere animals; it is an agent of creation, and recognises humans to be the potential source of ongoing creation)

What do we have if God creates a creation that contradicts God? (a dynamic aspect of creation, the possibility of change and growth, a creation in conflict, the possibility of disobedience)

What is the relationship between God and the serpent? (The serpent is the creative edge of God and bearer the knowledge Adam and Eve need; the knowledge that God needs, but of which God is not conscious; the other side of God)

How do you describe these two sides of God? (generator of creativity vs conservative, adventuresome vs. protective, risk-averse vs. risky)

What is the tree in question? (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil)

What would it take to choose to eat? (faith, discontent, curiosity, desire to know)

What kind of God are we relating to? (experimenting, creator of opportunity, parenting)

What do Adam and Eve choose to do? (eat)

Genesis 3:8ff

What is God’s response to the eating of the forbidden fruit? (banishes the humans from the garden)

What happens as a result of eating the fruit? (the eyes of the humans are opened)

What does it mean to have one’s eyes opened? (gift of discernment, they gain choice and freedom to become more than they are)

Why did the serpent go to the feminine half? (this is the creative, intuitive half; the birth-giving source of new life

What did God do? (banishes the humans from the garden and puts guards around the tree of life; clothes the humans, thus showing continuing care; ensures that life for them is not easy)

What did God not do? (make good his previous threat that on the day they ate of the fruit, they would die)

Who was telling the truth to Eve about eating the fruit, God or the serpent? (the serpent)

What remains in the centre of the garden, which God protects? (the tree of life)

What is your sense of the tree of life? (It stands as a promise, a goal)

What do we know of it? (there from the beginning, central, fruit makes us god-like)

How do you feel about it? (desirable, object of yearning, source of strength)

How does it feel? (distant, yet present; source of confidence for the future; connected)

Remembering that myths are inner stories of the human psyche, what does it mean that this tree exists in you?  i.e. What are the implications? (I have within me an untapped potential for life; a connection with God)

Why is the tree only guarded and not destroyed or placed behind impenetrable barriers? (God wants to hold out a hope of return, a challenge to excite the ‘hero’ in my psyche; it says all of the potential of life is still there to be had, albeit with great difficulty)

What are the implications of the flaming swords of the guards?  (a purifying passage; a ‘refiner’s fire’)

Read Mt. 7:13-14 – 13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. 14 For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

Why am I using this passage here after looking at the tree of life? (clue to the way past the guards of the tree of life)

What is the relationship between eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the straitened way? (the first – the fruit – is necessary in order to be able to make the necessary choices to find the latter – the narrow gate – which is the way to life)

What would you want to ask Jesus about the way? (Why is it so difficult?)

What kind of judgment is asked for, and on whose part? (creative judgment; i.e. instructive, encouraging, daring and faithful discernment on the part of human beings to choose life)

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